Bitterly cold weather triggered SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Provision) at the start of the New Year in Poole. St Mungo’s rough sleeper team provided shelter for 5 or 6 homeless people on 2 January 2019, for the first time at Skinner Street URC Hall instead of the less accessible out of town accommodation. Hot food was not available so Routes to Roots left packed lunches for them all for Wednesday and Thursday. As Friday night is an R2R drop-in evening, hot food was provided as usual. As temperatures rose above zero on week commencing 7 January, the rough sleeper team has had to deactivate SWEP until further notice.
In October Nationwide Building Society launched a practical partnership with St Mungo’s aimed at providing a consistent and compassionate response to people rough sleeping on the high street – and is urging other businesses to follow suit. The Society is the leading sponsor and member of HomelessWise, a community of high street member organisations managed by St Mungo’s.
The HomelessWise initiative will provide online and offline expertise and resources to help staff in Nationwide branches to respond in practical and meaningful ways to those who are rough sleeping. This includes appropriate referrals to StreetLink – an app and weblink designed to alert local authorities to people sleeping rough in England and Wales – as well as awareness-raising for other homelessness services and local support groups. In addition, St Mungo’s has developed specialist training for Nationwide staff members, to give them the confidence to provide the right response to those sleeping rough and needing help.
Businesses interested in HomelessWise, can find out more at:
Poole’s SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Provision) was again triggered on the night of Thursday 22 February as temperatures plummeted. Workers from St Mungo’s, who are responsible for outreach to rough sleepers, informed all those they found to be at the Salvation Army car park, New Orchard Street, Poole by 8.30pm. After that time, they would have to make their own way to the Gateway Church, 133 Alder Road, where just 10 bed spaces are available. Support staff are on site throughout the night and a hot meal is provided.
Only if the temperature drops to zero degrees or below for three consecutive nights or more does the council have a responsibility to offer emergency housing to people who are rough sleeping.
Verified rough sleepers are able to access the shelter from 8.30pm. Doors close at 10.00pm – there is no access after this time.
If you are going to be, or are aware of anyone who is going to be, street homeless then contact the Bournemouth and Poole Rough Sleepers’ Team on 01202 315962 or 0300 5000 914 (both 24 hours).